When I hang his shirts next to mine in the closet, there are surf brands, the same ones he wore when he had hair bleached white by the sun and waves. When his skin was tan and his mouth tasted like wintergreeen gum and saltwater. When I spread my beach towel with my arms wide and the tradewinds swooped down and lifted the corners from my fingertips like a magic carpet and I would nestle my body in hot white sand and lift my eyes to the sea and she would offer the lip of a wave for his surfboard and I’d see the arms I loved paddling into the white and blue horizon.

Love was so easy then.

couple_GT

We hadn’t yet cried over blood that shouldn’t have come and left the hospital with an empty womb and even emptier arms. Love was easier before grief touched us.

I hadn’t yet stood in line for orange prescription bottles to try to chase away depression and anxiety. It was easier before my face crumpled and my body sagged and my hair went unwashed while my mind unraveled and I’d turn away from him at night and cry into my pillow and I was powerless to explain the sadness or make it go away. He hadn’t yet held me when I went limp like a rag doll and confessed my darkest thoughts in a voice that knew nothing but sorrow and shame.

We hadn’t yet raised our tempers and assaulted each other with unholy tongues, with faces flushed with fury, and lashed about with our words, slamming doors, and demanding that we be loved better while raging only in the wrong done to us. We hadn’t yet blamed each other for our unhappiness because we were both so dang miserable together. We hadn’t yet screamed, “I don’t even know who you are anymore! Your’e not who I fell in love with!”

We hadn’t yet answered the door to the man with the past due notice there to shut off our water while I stood with a wailing baby on my hip and piles of dirty laundry stacked by the washing machine waiting for a break to shovel them in. And the angry red bills showed up far more frequently than the paychecks.

We hadn’t known he would want people over and the BBQ going and I would long for quiet and solitude and one moment away from the children after homeschooling all week.

We hadn’t known he would want me to sit next to him on the couch while we watched American Pickers or loggers or some other show with bearded men in the wilderness doing wilderness type things. That he would want my hand in his and our thighs touching and that this would be enough for him. That touch would be a language that healed his aches.

We hadn’t known that I would need so much tenderness in his words, so much reassurance that I belonged to him and that I was lovely and that I was needed. That I would need to hear that my words and passion and purpose matter, that the suffering and beauty wasn’t in vain. That I would need him to look me in the eyes and believe for me when I couldn’t.

We hadn’t known that I would need him to take the garbage out and bring home takeout and ward off visitors on my bad days and when it was all done I would love him back by rubbing the burdens from his shoulders.

We hadn’t yet known how hard making a life together is: when he was a boy and I was a girl and we were newly in love.

I hoist the laundry basket onto hips that have birthed his three babies into the world. Our oldest now stands two full inches above his father, he is almost 16, the age we were when we first met. I hang up the flannel shirts he now layers over his surf shirts because we are far from the waters of our youth and the cold sets in here.

I pile his painter whites into a basket. No washing will ever get out the eggshell pewter and semi-gloss antique white that form crunchy patches on his work pants. We replace them with new painter whites when he wears holes in the knees from kneeling along floorboards and masking off trim day after day. All of our married life he’s bent his back and stretched his arms as wide as the cross covering over the chipped and failing paint and he’s filled in the cracks until his hands split and bled. Until the walls were fresh and new.

He’s a simple man with simple pleasures. He drinks his generic coffee black. He likes to drive down to the country store and pick up a styrofoam cup of worms and head to the river to bait his hook and cast his line and he doesn’t rush the waiting. He doesn’t overthink things or pace across the floor. He’s only cried a handful of times and his deep gut laugh is rare and you feel somehow chosen on the occasions you’ve managed to charm it from him. He likes to tinker with things, engines or earth or the lodgepole’s he’s cut and planed into projects. He only wants to fall in bed after he’s washed the sawdust off, pull me close, and wrap his arms around me. He falls asleep in seconds.

If we ticked off check boxes in an ideal mate or the perfect match at the outset, I’m sure the database would have calculated our chances at happiness and spit out a warning. We are not an ideal pairing.

I am a complicated woman with complicated pleasures. I drink my coffee sweet and milky. I rush the waiting of every thing and it’s not in my nature to be still for long. I’m restless and anxious and I have worn holes in my soul from the pacing. I cry with abandon, plop myself on my bed and weep at times, when it feels necessary and right, and no other response will suffice. But I am just as quick to laugh with my head tipped back and my mouth sprung open, a loud cacophony of abandon. I tinge conversations with sarcasm and turn things into jokes we carry on for years like some secret inside society where a small phrase carries our memories and our moments. I don’t have the patience to fix things, or the mind to understand tools and gadgets. I only want to sleep with a mountain of pillows on my side of the mattress. His holding arms make me hot and stifled, I like space for my legs to wander towards the cool spots in the sheets. I toss and turn and sleep often evades me.

And yet, we’ve slept 18 years like this. Our queen bed hastily replaced with a king-sized one once we added children to the mix and we’d often find random limbs and elbows in our faces or ribs in the middle of the night. It was used and old and over the years it sagged more and more, finding us in the middle, rolling towards each other.

There were some embarrassing stains we couldn’t fully get out from nights those babies ended up in our bed and we all woke up in the pitch dark to a soggy stain where the diaper failed. How many of those nights did we grab one of those ratty beach towels from our first days and throw it over the spot, change the baby, and climb back in bed bleary-eyed and exhausted?

I went on a trip not too long ago and while I was away, my husband sent me a text of a new mattress he’d found at an estate sale. It still had the tags on, not the ones warning against removal that everyone tears off pillows, but the actual sales pamphlets. It was in the guest room and got no use. He strapped it to our minivan and drove it home.

I came home to king sized pillow top but our sheets didn’t quite fit.

“It’s a California King,” he mentioned casually. “It’s longer on the end but four inches narrower, but that just means we’ll sleep closer.”

He winked at me and smiled and I saw it then. The boy he once was, the man he had become. The way his whole body has served me and how his calloused hands soften the ache when he reaches across the space to find me. My body speaks peace to him.

I know this now, these simple things of a life together. The inside jokes and the inside tears. The things we’ve fixed and the things we’ve broken, the things that have broken us. The dreams we carried and the cold realities we endured. The ways we’ve learned each other.

We were never an ideal match, we have been strangers as often as we’ve been friends. We’ve had to relearn what it is to make space for each other. I never thought the training grounds for hospitality would be in the welcoming of who we are.

I am not that girl anymore, the one with plumeria oil on her neck and no weight on her shoulders. I am a woman now with my laundry basket almost emptied. I rest it on the corner of our bed to match the random socks that are always left over.

We’ve made a life here and love doesn’t get easier but it gets closer. This past year we closed the gap another four inches.

There’s a hospitality in receiving the man you end up with. It’s in accepting the stranger you see on days when he’s so far from the boy you started out with. It’s the grace you have for the girl turned woman who always has one sock left over and no match.

And some nights, he’ll lay his body down next to mine and we’ll remember what it’s like to love like it’s easy. To love like it’s new. I’ll welcome you.

Hospitality is the space to say come as you are, and I’ll find new ways to love you.

Tags: ,
Alia Joy Hagenbach / Posts / Blog

Alia Joy is a storyteller, speaker, and homeschooling mother of three making her home in Central Oregon. She shares her story in broken bits and pieces on her blog and finds community where other’s stories intersect. She’s a cynical idealist who is always trying to find the beautiful bits in the midst of the messy and broken. She believes even the most broken stories have a redeemer and she’ll always dance to the good songs. She is a regular contributor at (in)courage, SheLoves, The Mudroom, and Deeper Waters and can be found on twitter hashtagging all the things, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and making goo-goo eyes at her husband.

  • Larry Brook

    Dear Joy,

    Your words inspire me; your courage strengthens me, your stories, filled with symbolism, open visions in my head and causes my heart to sense both your pain and your joy.

    If I could I would wave my arms about and your pain would be forever gone, but alas that’s just not the way it works. My prayers for your wholeness bounce off white ceilings and ricochet around the room until they settle lifelessly on the floor only to disappear as though they were never here.

    I ask for the peace that passes all understanding to rest upon you and your family, knowing quite well it will be, like all things in this world only temporary. Quick flashes, moments too fleeting to capture in bottles or to grasp with reaching hearts, will come only to fade away like smoke on the wind.

    Your herculean efforts to continue with the mundane seems to set you to writing which I should hope becomes a release valve for pent-up frustrations and an island of refuge.

    May the GOD-DNA placed in you at creation sustain you and fuel you as it pushes out all else until you are left with the best of your humanity and the realization of the divine element that makes you who you really are.

    From here, it appears you see the good in THE NOW and do your best to step over the not so good.

    Thanks for sharing, it makes a difference in so many searching souls.

    May 16th, 2016 7:21
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thanks for your encouragement, Larry, and for your prayers. Writing is the place where I often feel God speak to me and often where I speak back. It’s the place where I feel His pleasure. I think of it as my wilderness and my home. It has surely been both. And if it also does some good in the world, I’m doubly thankful. Thanks for reading.

      May 16th, 2016 14:52
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  • Faith
    http://www.aradiantface.com

    This is the most beautiful marriage memoir I’ve ever read. Thank you for choosing your words so carefully. It’s like a painting and a song at the same time.

    May 16th, 2016 8:19
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    • Dana Butler
      http://www.danalbutler.com

      YES… like a painting and a song at the same time. That.

      May 16th, 2016 12:43
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      • Alia Joy Hagenbach
        http://aliajoy.com

        Since you know songs like nobodies business, that’s a huge compliment. Thank you, friend.

        May 16th, 2016 15:08
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thank you! That’s a beautiful compliment.

      May 16th, 2016 15:08
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  • Beth D

    These are some of the things in marriage that we don’t talk about often to others or with others. It’s the parts that will knit our hearts together or cause us to turn our backs to each other. Although Alia Joy’s examples are different than mine and I’m further into this adventure called marriage I was totally encouraged. Thank you!

    May 16th, 2016 8:43
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  • Linda Stoll
    http://www.lindastoll.net

    And this, my friend, is truly your best writing.

    Ever.

    Glorious.

    May you be blessed with many more anniversaries … and fewer loads of laundry.

    May 16th, 2016 8:44
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thank you. I loved this post so much because we’ve fought to get to the place where these words could be true. We still fight to choose each other. And amen to less laundry! I have a bunch of loads to catch up on after we went away this past weekend to celebrate. The laundry is always the reality I come home to that reminds me of all the bodies we care for and clothe, at least that’s what I tell myself when it takes all day. It’s a blessing, right? 😉

      May 16th, 2016 15:32
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  • Katrina

    That was so incredibly beautiful and raw and true. Thank you for sharing it with us, and for reminding me to cherish my dearest love and the crazy life we have together.

    May 16th, 2016 9:13
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thank you, Katrina. Crazy life and dearest loves should indeed be cherished.

      May 16th, 2016 16:07
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  • Michele Morin
    http://michelemorin.wordpress.com

    We married in May as well, and although we were older at the start, more cautious and therefore have had fewer surprises, still there is the weight of responsibility and the disappointments over the years that have weighed us down. May we find, in the grace of God, that we are brought closer by our failings and our forgivings as the years go by.

    Thanks, Alia. I’m enjoying the snips and snatches of your story as I find it here and there.

    May 16th, 2016 9:24
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Yes, I was 19 and he was 20 when we got married. We were babies. I thought I knew what love is but that certainly takes new shapes as the years go by. It’s a constant relearning of how to make space and be one with someone who also keeps changing. It is beautiful when it brings you closer and you know that you can be known and loved just as you are. When home is your favorite place to belong.

      May 16th, 2016 16:13
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  • Shelly Miller
    http://redemptionsbeauty.com

    You’ve painted a lovely portrait of marriage with your words Alia. I think I’ll stand around and gawk for a while.

    May 16th, 2016 10:07
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  • Greer Oharah
    http://Ordinaryepiphanies.com

    This is so beautiful! I am nearing my third year of marriage and am still in early stages of this journey. It is so encouraging to hear from someone who has walked much further. Thank you for sharing this!

    May 16th, 2016 10:08
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      It gets harder and it gets easier. These things are both true. Maybe it just gets different, but if you do it well, you’ll grow up together instead of just side by side. You’ll keep holding space to love well. You’ll be home to each other.

      May 16th, 2016 16:17
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  • Amy Baik Lee
    Amy Baik Lee
    http://sunsteepeddays.com

    I read this morning of how our world needs alternative visions of reality to the fractured ones we so often hold. You’ve done that here so poignantly, Alia, adding resilient beauty back to we know of hospitality and love and marriage; thank you.

    May 16th, 2016 11:05
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thanks Amy! The truth is I’ve never been so good at what I pictured as hospitality. I mixed it up with entertaining or performance, I’d stress about what to cook that everyone would eat. I’m an introvert and a steady flow of guests exhausts me. So when I started writing here, I knew my take on it would be different than all of those images I had in my head and because I also know the Bible talks about how we are to practice hospitality, I knew I couldn’t just say it’s not my gifting and I don’t have to do it. So this is my practice. Finding the ways God has designed me to be a welcome to those He brings into my life.

      May 16th, 2016 16:22
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      • Amy Baik Lee
        Amy Baik Lee
        http://sunsteepeddays.com

        I’m so heartened by your aim to be faithful to the Word in the matter of hospitality, and — as a fellow introvert — encouraged by how you’re exploring it, here and elsewhere. Do keep writing. 🙂

        May 20th, 2016 23:06
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  • Teri Lynne Underwood
    http://www.terilynneunderwood.com/blog

    I’m overwhelmed by the poetry and poignancy here, Alia. When you push your brush across the canvas, I am breathless with the raw beauty you leave. I want to write a comment worthy of the prose you’ve shared …but all I can leave is this: thank you. Truly.

    May 16th, 2016 11:15
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thank you Teri Lynne. I’d say that’s a beautiful comment and I’m so grateful I was able to write it. There were years I couldn’t imagine making it this far. God’s grace overwhelms me.

      May 16th, 2016 16:25
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  • Christine
    http://barebranchblooming.com

    Wow, wow, wow. This is just what I needed to read today. I’m in one of those tight-fitting marital seasons– almost 17 years in– and we are working hard to find the space needed in each other, to overlap like a real life Venn diagram, and see where we fit, again. So so good. <3

    May 16th, 2016 11:45
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      That’s a good image for it. The areas we overlap and become one and the ways we’re so opposite and sometimes we think we have to match up at all the points but sometimes it’s more about coming together and also leaving space. Tight fitting seasons can try the soul but the work is worth it. We have not arrived in any way but at least now we know we have to work for it. Thanks for reading, Christine.

      May 16th, 2016 16:41
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  • Jennifer Frisbie
    http://www.jenniferfrisbie.com

    Alia, I just don’t know if I could love this more if I tried. Maybe it’s your poetic words. Maybe it’s the imagery I get lost in as I read your painted pictures. Or maybe it’s because it all hits so close to home with pieces of your story that could be my own. This is truly your best yet! 💕

    May 16th, 2016 14:39
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thanks Jennifer. It’s definitely one of my top 5 favorite posts I’ve probably ever done. Two of my top 5 are about marriage. There’s something about legacy and love that just get to me. I want words I can hand down to my grandchildren some day.

      May 16th, 2016 16:42
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  • Michelle

    This has had me weeping all morning long. You have reached deep into my heart with this. My husband and I are separated for the second time and on the verge of selling the house and divorcing (my idea). This has stopped me in my tracks and turned me upside down. These words…they ring so true I could have written them. Now…to determine how to move forward!

    May 16th, 2016 15:15
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Oh Michelle. This comment made me cry. I don’t know all of your story but I do know that I can say with certainty that marriage is a trial and a gift and I accept it as both. Here are some words I wrote two years ago for our anniversary, maybe they’ll bless you in this place. I’ll be praying for wisdom and grace as you move forward. http://aliajoy.com/we-make-beautiful-amends/

      May 16th, 2016 16:47
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      • Michelle

        Alia – I wanted to let you know that due to your post and a number of other interestingly timed things I read, heard, felt etc. I reached out to my husband to let him know I would be willing to try working on our marriage…the dig down deep, start over, bare our souls kinda long term deal. I know this has thrown him for a loop and he is thinking about it and is dealing with the loss of his dad 2 weeks ago as well. But sometimes it takes a big stormy mess to get people to move forward. 🙂 And believe me, I have been pretty good at the stormy mess thing lately! So we’ll see, but I at least made the first big scary step and we will go from there and see what happens. I have been following you on Instagram too and live in Central Oregon as well. Thank you for the prayers and for this post – it may very well be life changing for us!

        June 9th, 2016 19:39
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  • Rebecca L Jones

    I am always amazed at your writing talents, and I knew I wasn’t the only one with left overs socks, I’ve even washed quarters, a credit card, chapstick, and a rock. Sometimes, you’re too tired to check pockets. Your post is beautiful and you are blessed. We all are, even if we don’t feel like it. But love is not a feeling, it’s a choice, it is God. I hope you and your mother are finding peace in Christ, and her recovery is quick.

    May 16th, 2016 15:53
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Oh my gosh, Rebecca, yes! I too have washed rocks, cash, my son’s cell phone, and a tube of ruby red lipstick. Those clothes were done for unless everyone wanted to wear waxy pink clothes. I should not be allowed to do laundry but no one has banned me yet. I keep waiting. 😉 And yes, the socks! I don’t even know. Yes, I choose him. That’s the hard simplicity of it. My mom is healing, as am I. God is good to us.

      May 16th, 2016 16:50
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  • Chrysti Hedding
    http://www.heddingsomewhere.org

    This. Your words. Are exactly what I needed today. Thank you. xx
    In the middle of a trying time in our lives. It’s changed our relationship for the better.

    May 16th, 2016 16:20
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      The trying times test us and sometimes they seem like they’ll topple us altogether, don’t they? Glad this was an encouragement to you, today, Chrysti.

      May 16th, 2016 16:54
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  • Becky Keife
    http://www.beckykeife.com

    Alia, it’s easy to see why this post is your favorite. It reads like a wave, swelling with beauty and emotion, crashing with salty pain, then rising again with welcoming grace. It makes me want to laugh and weep and hope for greater things yet to come. Thank you for sharing your life and art. xoxo -Becky

    May 16th, 2016 17:44
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Yes, that’s the truth there, our hope needs to be in greater things yet to come, when the times get rough. Believing all things and hoping all things isn’t always easy when the hard times come. Love requires more than we often think we can give, and yet after all these years I see all is grace. Love truly covers a multitude of sins.

      May 16th, 2016 19:07
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  • NANCY ROE
    https://wilderoe.wordpress.com/

    Love this, beautiful, so moving, tears at the end, stunning ending! My husband and I see ourselves in a few of your examples. We just took a class based on the 5 love languages and the book by Gary Chapman, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.” It was fun to see so clearly described yours and your husbands, much like ours! I shared your piece with our fellow classmates. Too good not to share!

    May 16th, 2016 19:40
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Thanks Nancy. It’s funny. I’m working on a post idea because I actually learned how to better love my husband because my two youngest children’s love languages are touch and quality time. Those are not mine. I want acts of service and words of affirmation. SO I’ve never understood why it’s such a big deal for him that I sit there and watch tv and hold his hand and do stuff with him. Every time I was stressed he’d try to rub my shoulders and I was like, “I need space! I’m stressed.” I never understood that he was trying to love me. We’ve been speaking in different languages for years. It’s helped to tun into what he needs specifically and for him to do that for me. It helps. Thanks for sharing, I hope you get a lot out of that class!

      May 16th, 2016 20:34
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  • Lina Hill

    Alia, your writing is always so viscerally beautiful to me. I love this post too! You are right to feel good about it AND the precious story it tells. My man and I started out at a much older age and have now embarked on our journey for 24 years together. It is good to write these things so that those early on in marriage can see that “happily ever after” is a daily process of give and take and give and take some more. My husband has bipolar disorder and I have lived in and out of chronic migraines so we too know a struggled plain on which to grow. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything… thanks for your beautiful story!!

    May 16th, 2016 20:11
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach
      http://aliajoy.com

      Yes, I read an article once, I can’t remember where but it talked about marrying someone who can suffer well. You never know at “I do” what will be asked of you. Sometimes it’s smooth for awhile, sometimes it’s rocky from the start. Some people fight and some just drift apart without any animosity or any passion. It’s work to live a story worth telling to your kids or your grandchildren. To live with hope that it’s worth it to put in the time and sacrifices and to believe God gives us the strength to love all the people in our lives well.

      May 16th, 2016 20:38
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  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins
    http://www.threewaylight.blogspot.com

    Alia, I was 19 when I was married, as well, my husband 26. My mother thought I’d lost my mind (as well she should have). I had just become a Christian (that was her first clue–crazy for sure, I was) and had no idea how to be married. God’s grace has been the only glue that could hold. That and the persevering, bulldog commitment of my husband.
    We’ve been married 43 years in July and no one is more surpirsed than I; there was a time there when I just wanted to walk away.
    It does not get easier (well, it does. A little). It just gets richer, deeper, stronger. And it is worth every single load of laundry, every sleepless night, everything.
    You have started well-I am jealous of your wisdom at such a young age….you will both finish well.
    (And your writing???? Gawking along with Shelly M.)

    May 17th, 2016 0:08
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach

      My mom got married at 19 and so did my sister-in-law, who married my brother. I look back and think we were just babies. But my parents would have celebrated their 42nd anniversary if my dad was still alive, and my brother and his wife will celebrate their 17th this year and are going strong. So maybe there’s a stubborn streak in my family and it works to our advantage? Or maybe that legacy meant something to us because divorce wasn’t something anyone did in our family. Or maybe it was pure grace that we’re going strong at 18 years when a little over a decade ago, I would have said I don’t know if we’ll make it or even if I want to. Either way, I’m glad we’re stuck it out because even though it’s not easier (you’re right about that) it is deeper and more meaningful. And I would have missed all this beauty if I hadn’t stayed. Finishing well. Yes, that’s something to believe is worth working towards. I really do love this piece of writing, it’s something I’ll want my grandkids to read someday if I am blessed enough to get some.

      May 17th, 2016 13:13
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  • SimplyDarlene
    SimplyDarlene
    http://www.simplydarlene.com

    Good night, Irene! This piece is all once beautiful, tender, real. Thank you.

    Blessings.

    May 17th, 2016 20:18
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  • Bev Murrill
    http://www.bevmurrill@me.com

    OMIGOSH… I wish wish wish I’d written this. I am sitting in Kigali (rwanda) airport, crying in the lounge … what beauty and what dept and what holy love and truth… My gosh… this is awesome.

    May 18th, 2016 9:47
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach

      Thank you Bev. I was talking to my husband about this post and I read him a few of the comments and he joked that I always make people cry when I write. To be fair, I’m most often crying when I write too so it’s all in solidarity. Safe travels home!

      May 18th, 2016 15:55
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    • Irish
      http://nzzerdnazed.com

      I feel safteiisd after reading that one.

      November 6th, 2016 1:04
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  • Bri McKoy
    http://oursavorylife.com

    There are just no words. I ate up every piece of this post. Thank you, Alia. So grateful for you and your art and your hospitality. xoxo

    May 18th, 2016 16:43
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach

      Thank you Bri. I just watch your hopewriters video! So of course, I feel like I know you really well now. Congrats on the book!

      May 18th, 2016 20:57
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  • Kimberly
    http://kimberlys-cup.blogspot.com/

    Just thank you for this.
    Thank you.
    ~
    We’re near the eighteenth year married and the last…uh, more than I want to type..years have been hard. But we’re still here, together. And it’s coming around better again bit by bit.
    ~
    I saw a post today of pictures of a dear boy I once taught at ten, now married a week and made a doctor yesterday. Their smiles of hope and joy touched my heart and I prayed for them as I worked today. And I thought, marriage is so good and so hard and so worth the pain. You’ve captured it all in these words.

    May 22nd, 2016 19:43
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach

      Sometimes it is the bit by bit that gets us through. Sometimes just staying put in the middle of the hard and taking it day by day ends up being the miracle. I’ve seen pictures of a baby I used to babysit now grown and married as well and it’s crazy how we grow up and into new lives. There’s a whole life ahead of them filled with the good and hard and beautiful and devastating. It’s a package deal we enter into. But I’m so glad of the good days and the beauty that’s come from staying because bit by bit it’s coming around better for us too. Thanks for reading, Kimberly. I’m glad it was an encouragement to you.

      May 24th, 2016 14:04
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  • Morag
    http://princessmorag.blogspot.com

    You have given me hope. As time has gone on I feel like we are less and less suited, our differences stand up to be counted. But yet….love. I can’t discount the love.

    May 23rd, 2016 22:35
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    • Alia Joy Hagenbach

      As time goes on we’re less and less suited as well. We have to choose to meet the other and love them as well as we know how and sometimes I have to ask him how to do that because I don’t always know. What I love and what he loves, well, it just isn’t often the same thing but we choose to love each other and some days it feels easy and some days it feels like the hardest costliest thing, but yes, don’t discount the love. There is a richness that doesn’t mean everything is as easy as when we first started but it is deeper because it’s been tested again and again. I’m glad you have hope, that’s no small thing.

      May 24th, 2016 14:15
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  • Cheri

    That is stunningly beautiful.

    June 10th, 2016 19:46
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  • millie

    Alia,
    just read this now. your words are so beautiful, reaching down deep, and really bringing some kind of healing. when I read this post, I was filled with hope yet again, and my heart smiles! God bless you and increase in you even as you encourage so many women throughout the world with your words. I read this, and I see God. Thank you!

    July 23rd, 2016 12:50
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  • Marita
    http://members.hancockparksfinest.com

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    January 12th, 2017 8:28
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